Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry, Merry . . . Happy Holidays !

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

May you celebrate with continued abundance of blessings throughout the coming year.

With "Grace and Gratitude", Ander and I humbly thank all of you who have given so generously from your hearts in support of the Menu For Hope III campaign. The eleven day fundraising event to support the UN World Food Programme raised, at last tally, $58,256.70.

Bravo to all who worked so very hard in making this campaign successful! You made a difference!

Life is a banquet, my friends.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Menu For Hope III . . . To Give of Oneself

We learned long ago, "What you give of yourself, you keep forever."


"A selection of oil paintings by Artist, Ander Kase. . ."

A choice from a selection of paintings is being offered as a raffle prize by Landscape Impressionist, Ander Kase. Ander actually makes a decent living as an artist and loves doing what he does best. He has a commercial agent that represents him and once in a while, gets him commission gigs with corporate clients. Most of Ander's artwork are sold to private collectors.

During a previous, "Art at the Source" of Sonoma County event at the Blue Gum Farm Gallery, he was the top seller of art among well over 200 local artists. As one can see, Ander's art pretty much speak for themselves. There is no real need to promote the creations. They speak volumes to those that are moved by the scene depicted on the canvas. The art brings out emotions and engage viewers to interact with the painting. The viewers step a few inches away from the collection of colors and transport themselves to the location. Some have described Ander's work as "alluring you into the painting". "You want to step right into it." They are at once, classic and tranquil.

For each US$10 donation for PRIZE CODE UW21, you will have the opportunity to win this personal treasure. The fortunate raffle prize winner will win a painting worth a value of US$250-US$850, depending on size and selection. Come on! Won't this be a fabulous topic of conversation among your guests at your next dinner party? Ander once exhibited his fine art installed between art by Andy Warhol and Peter Max. Talk about rubbing elbows and name dropping. . .LOL!

Will ship Internationally, barring any customs restrictions. Insurance, additional cost (Optional).

"Artist signing Limited Edition Prints . . ."

"Brush Creek IV" . . .©ander. All rights reserved.

"Kenwood Vineyard . . .©ander. All rights reserved.

"Water lillies . . ." ©ander. All rights reserved.

Menu for Hope III - Sharing is Caring . . .


"Maison Kase Wine Country Kitchen Package

H-O-L-I-D-A-Y-S ! ! ! ! !

C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S ! ! ! ! !

At 7:22 PM EST, this evening marks the Winter Solstice. There are 5 days until Christmas and I have 3 days to finish wrapping holiday gifts.

Wine Country Shine . . .

My Dad loved this time of year. He was the biggest kid of all of us. Of course, as in only my Dad’s annual holiday tradition, he would wait until December 24th to do any kind of gift shopping. One Christmas Eve, a few years ago, he gathered my four siblings and I to the living room. The Christmas tree was up and chock full of ornaments collected through the years. The ceramic Christmas tree my mother painstakingly hand painted took its place on the side table. It had light bulbs that lit up and played “O’ Tannenbaum” when the music box was wound up. There were numerous stuffed dolls of Mr. and Mrs. Santa, Elves, Christmas mice and Angels that surrounded us on the sofa, loveseat and Dad’s rocking chair.

We were all anxious to be sitting before our beloved father, as he only gathered us together for a “family meeting” which entailed a serious discussion. However, this particular Christmas Eve, he wanted to let us know how happy he was that we all came home for the holiday and to share the celebration together. He then handed each of us, youngest to oldest, a crisp $100 dollar bill. Dad was always generous that way. He didn't want us to worry about finances and encouraged us to be generous in our gift giving. It was understood that he only gave my mother a gift. It was always a beautiful bottle of "Joy de Patou" Eau de Parfum.

"Christmas Ribbon . . ."

It was still early evening and we still had a few hours left for Christmas shopping at the nearest mall. Christmas Eve was Dad’s night. The girls would be in the back bedrooms wrapping last minute gifts. I don’t recall my brother wrapping presents as usually my sisters and I would volunteer to wrap them up for him, trying to guess which gift he had chosen for us. My dear Mother would be in the kitchen making preparations for ”Noche Buena”. We would get ready for Midnight Mass, that started at 9:00PM, which meant, as in my mother’s wont, we leave the house at 8:00PM in order to get seating for all of us to be together. By the time my sisters and I married and our spouses joined the family, we had taken up a whole pew. After mass and the Christmas pageant, we would scurry home in the clear, mild and chilly Southern California night. Since we were still dressed-up, we would gather together and take our annual Christmas photo in front of the tree. I always loved how my family would indulge me and my manual camera set up with tripod. As the years went by, their patience would grow short. Let me just say, thank goodness for the “Digital” technology. LOL! (I still enjoy my manual camera, however.) After rubbing the bright flash bulb blind spot from our eyes, we would all dash down the hallway to our rooms to change out of our church attire into comfy sweats or PJ’s. We would find a seat at the dining table and fill our bowls with the traditional “Arroz Caldo” with chopped scallions (green onions) for garnish. There would also be other items on the table, such as, Lechon (My parents honored the first Christmas Ander spent with us with a whole suckling pig with “apple in its mouth” presentation.), tri-tip roast, afritada and an array of side dishes. Naturally, there was always a multitude of sweets typically arranged on free countertops, tabletops and someone’s empty lap.

After we fed our tummies to the fullest, we would flock at the foot of the Christmas tree pulling gifts from underneath and begin distributing the festive packages among each other. Dad would like to open gifts one at a time, so that we could see what everyone got. Through the years, after Dad had passed, the enjoyable part is to watch the kids exclaim "Oohs and Ahhhs", with eyes wide open, in pure delight of the gifts they would receive. Of course, I especially enjoy the look of happiness and contentment on my dear Mother’s face to see everyone have a wonderful time together.

"Christmas Cat . . ."

Imagine someone’s joy to see a gift package from Maison Kase Wine Country Kitchen. I am putting the finishing touches on the assortment of award-winning jams, chutneys, tapenades and pickles. The generous prizewinner will have a splendid time creating their own “wine country” pleasure.

The Feijoa (Guava) Chutney features an exotic essence of Indian spices collected from my travels. I have created a quick and simple appetizer that you can whip up at any short given notice. My darling hubby, Ander, loves to accompany a nice pork roast with this delectable chutney. The flavors are a mingling of sweet, sour, spicy and zing!

Tonight marks the first of several holiday open-house parties we have been invited to attend. I’ve been asked to bring an appetizer for the potluck. The Roasted Sweet Gypsy Red Pepper Tapenade will dress a chevre-herbed dome surrounded by handmade cheese-herbed crackers.

You still have until tomorrow to DONATE and BID on PRIZE CODE UW20. This wine country kitchen package will not disappoint you. There is something for everyone to enjoy. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, take one and share with a dear family member or friend. They’ll be delighted to know your generosity has helped in the campaign for reducing hunger in the world. Come on! For each US$10 bid, it is an opportunity to make a difference and to win a fabulous array of “palate pleasures”.

Brie en croûte avec le chutney de Feijoa (Brie in Pastry with Feijoa Chutney)


1 – 8 oz. jar of Maison Kase Feijoa (Guava) Chutney
1 wheel of Rouge de Noir Soft Brie Cheese
1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough
½ cup slivered almonds
1 egg
1 T. water


THAW pastry sheet at room temperature for 30 min. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix egg and water. Set aside.

UNFOLD pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14" square. Cut off corners to make a circle. Spread generous amount of Maison Kase Feijoa Chutney to within 1" of pastry edge. Sprinkle almonds over chutney. Top with Brie cheese. Brush edge of circle with egg mixture. Fold two opposite sides over cheese. Trim remaining two sides to 2" from edge of cheese. Fold these two sides onto the round. Press edges to seal. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Decorate top with pastry scraps if desired. Brush with egg mixture.

BAKE 20 min. or until golden. Let stand 1 hr. Serve with crackers.

Life is a banquet, my friends.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Menu For Hope III - Gift of the Heart

Menu For Hope III – Gift of the Heart

December 11th thru December 22nd
LOOK ----> CHOOSE ----> DONATE $$$

As we hustle and bustle through our days during this holiday season, we tend to skip meals to make time for all the “To Do” things on our list. Skip a meal . . . ever think of how we take that for granted? How about those in other parts of the world that may not have a meal, period.

Amidst the preparation for the upcoming celebrations, sometimes, some of us, get caught up with the “all-to-dos” and forget one of the primary reasons for the season. It is the time of giving. Giving of ourselves. In my previous post, I mentioned I wanted to participate more with my fellow food bloggers. Here is an opportunity for me to share in a worldwide fundraising campaign to help feed those in need with proceeds to benefit the UN World Food Programme.

Menu For Hope, started as a fundraising campaign by Pim of
Chez Pim
to support the earthquake and tsunami victims in Indonesia and Southeast Asia . Last year, Menu For Hope II raised $17,000 for UNICEF.

Here’s an opportunity for you to join in the campaign. I am donating a prize package - UW20 - Maison Kase Wine Country Kitchen Package. You now have a chance to try out these wonderful comestables. Donate and select prize CODE UW20.

Maison Kase, Wine Country Kitchen Package . . .

The package will include an eclectic collection of the home-made offerings from my wine country kitchen. There will be an assortment of award-winning jams, preserves, tapenade, chutneys, and pickles. The fruit and vegetables used in these products come from various growers in Sonoma County, therefore, the majority of the ingredients are organically grown. Spices used are gathered during my travels. The award-winning recipes have been created to use the most exotic fruits, unique vegetable and extraordinary spices. The products are a simple base used for creating your own unique offerings of any wine country kitchen. Recipes will be included suggesting how to use these delicious, one-of-a-kind, gourmet delights.

Some examples are:

~ Brown Turkey Fig Confiture
~ Poha Jam (Cape Gooseberry)
~ Fig-Cranberry Chutney
~ Feijoa (Guava Chutney)
~ Green Papaya Atchara
~ Crunch-in-a jar (Pickled Pumpkin)
~ Fig-Black Olive Tapenade
~ Roasted Red Bell Pepper-Green Olive Tapenade
~ BONUS: Marion Blackberry Cordial (Summer-in-a-bottle).

Of course, those with a natural knack for "knocking something out" in the kitchen will have a blast with these fabulous inspirations! Got your "creative cap" on? The prize value: Priceless Palate . . . :-)

Between December 11-22 you can make a donation that will give you a chance to win one of the fantastic and valuable prizes that are being offered.

For every US$10 donation, you get 1 chance to win this package. Since there are other fabulous prizes offered throughout the campaign, you can apply your US$100 donation towards the prizes you select. For example, you can request 5 tickets for UW20 – Maison Kase Wine Country Kitchen Package or 5 tickets for UW21 – Ander Kase Original Painting of Wine Country Landscape.

Ander Kase Original Landscape Painting - Winner's Choice . . .

The raffle prize winner may choose a painting from a selection of artwork being offered by Landscape Impressionist, Ander Kase. The original paintings are scenes taken from the beautiful Northern California Wine Country. Ander visits the vineyards during various seasons of the year to capture the venues at their optimum stage of development. His favorite time is late summer where the hills are rich and golden, contrasting with the foliage of the grapevines. He makes sure he seizes the colors of "harvest or crush" that portray the multitude of reds, golds, and ambers. Ander has also offered the motifs of the olive groves that have besieged wine country for generations. The olive groves consist of mature and established trees that offer character and poise. In addition, there are a series of paintings displaying apple orchards in bloom, winery gardens, and numerous other landscapes that surround our wine country home. Bodies of water, such as, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and coastlines, make up the balance of his works. Ander is an accomplished artist and has attained recognition in the art world. His commercial clients consist of large corporations, financial institutions, major hotels, resorts, cruise lines and hospitals. Also, Ander has a global following of private collectors. The artwork he is offering for this fundraising campaign is from a selection of original oil-on-paper paintings. They are on archival, acid-free, museum quality paper. The style is "impressionistic" in the manner of the French and American Impressionists. The prize value: $250-$500, depending on the image and size. Donate and select prize CODE UW21.

You can also view prizes from your specific region by going to our regional Menu for Hope blog hosts on this list:

US West Coast: Becks and Posh
US East Coast: The Amateur Gourmet
US (the rest): Kalyn's Kitchen
Canada: Cardamom Addict
Europe and UK:
Latin America: The Cooking Diva
Asia Pacific/Australia/New Zealand: Grab Your Fork

Here's what you have to do to donate:

(We are still in the process of adding prizes. Check back frequently for updates!)

1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope.

2. Go to the donation site at first giving and make a donation.

3. Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code—for example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for UW20 and 3 for UW21. (Please use the double-digits, not UW1, but UW01.)

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

Check back at Chez Pim on January 15 for the results of the raffle.

Let’s get started. Life is an interesting adventure, Participate!

Life is a banquet, my friends.

Technorati tag: Menu for Hope, UN World Food Programme, Donate, Give, Prize, Gift of the Heart